What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any form of unwanted or forced sexual behaviour or act that occurs without consent. Sexual assault covers a wide range of sexual behaviours or acts. It is important to remember that sexual assault is a crime.

Source: Queensland Police Service, 2018


Some examples of sexual violence include:

  • Stalking e.g. repeatedly being followed or watched by someone;
  • Rape e.g. being forced to have vaginal, anal or oral sex;
  • Unwanted touching e.g. pinching, patting, embracing, rubbing, groping, flicking, kissing, fondling, being touched on the breasts, bum, legs etc;
  • Sexual harassment e.g. dirty jokes or rude comments about a person's sex life;
  • Obscene gestures e.g. simulating masturbation in front of a person;
  • Voyeurism e.g. being watched doing intimate things without permission;
  • Unwanted sexual comments or jokes e.g. comments about a person's body or relationships;
  • Sex-related insults e.g. calling someone a slut, dyke, homo, slag etc;
  • Pressuring for dates or demand for sex e.g. invitations that turn into threats or not taking 'no' for an answer;
  • Indecent exposure e.g. someone showing private parts of their body or 'flashing' their genitals;
  • Being forced to watch or participate in porn e.g. taking a photo without permission, forcing someone to be on video, making someone watch a pornographic movie;
  • Offensive written material e.g. dirty notes, letters, phone messages, emails, SMS, pictures;
  • Incest/intrafamilial child sexual assault e.g. a family member e.g. father or brother engaging in sexual activity with a child or young person;
  • Unwanted, offensive and invasive interpersonal communication through technologies such as mobile phones, internet social networking sites and email.
Source:  Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA) Forum, 2019


If you have experienced sexual assault, we encourage you to ensure you are in a safe place, and seek medical attention (whether at hospital or a doctor clinic). It is important to always remember that it is never your fault and that you have the right to feel safe. The QSAN services will be able to support you. You can find your local QSAN service here .

For more information, please see our Resources page.